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Astronomical Observations made in the Voyages... in the Southern Hemisphere... by Order of the Commissioners of Longitude...
London: printed by C. Buckton, sold by P. Elmsley, 1788. Quarto, with two large folding engraved maps; a very good copy in later calf. The first major scientific publication based on Cook's first voyage, and the first publication of observations made on the Endeavour. The book is almost never seen on the open market. Such scientific rather than narrative publications were intended for a very small contemporary readership, helping to explain their present-day rarity. Included are two exceptionally important large charts of the Australian and New Zealand coasts, improved from those originally included in Hawkesworth's publication of the first voyage. The work includes substantial contributions: four separate sections print the variations of the compass observed by Cook and his three immediate predecessors, Byron on the Dolphin; Wallis on the same vessel; Carteret on the Swallow; and by Cook on the Endeavour. There is, besides, a section on astronomical observations made by Harrison, the purser for Samuel Wallis; and another on those made by Green, Cook and Clerke on the Endeavour. There are also two important sections of "Deductions from the Observations" of Wallis and Cook, as well as the "Meteorological Observations" of the Transit of Venus made by Green on Tahiti in 1769.Both maps were engraved by the experienced artist James Basire, best known for his engraved portrait of Captain Cook, with the addition of significant technical information. The first is 'A Chart of the Eastern Coast of New Holland, Discovered and Explored in 1770, By Captain James Cook, Commander of His Majesty's Bark, Endeavour', shows the entire coastline from Point Hicks in the south to the very tip of Cape York, enhanced with the detailed track of the Endeavour. The reef on which they grounded is annotated 'On This ledge the Ship lay 23 hours', and many of their observations are also marked. The second map is entitled 'A Chart of New Zealand, explored by Captain James Cook in 1769 and 1770 in His Majesty's Bark the Endeavour', shows both islands with the track of the Endeavour.William Wales, a veteran of Cook's second voyage, prepared the book while he was serving as master of the Royal Mathematical School in Christ's Hospital. He comments that the original papers were given to him as early as April 1778, but 'owing to the imperfect state that [first voyage astronomer] Mr. Green's papers were left in at his death... I laid the work aside.' Wales is more complimentary about the work of Harrison, the purser for Samuel Wallis on the Dolphin, the more so, he writes, because his work was completed without 'the advantage of a Nautical Almanac.' Wales had not only assisted Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne in the publication of the famous almanacs, but had earlier contributed to the two volumes of astronomical observations from Cook's second and third voyages.The first major work of astronomy to study New Holland and New Zealand, collating observations made by Cook, Clerke and Green on the Endeavour, it is one of a highly select small group of first publications about the east coast of Australia. Beddie lists just four institutional holdings in Australia. Provenance: Commander Ingleton, with his bookplate and shelfmark. Some browning and offsetting, affecting the title and a few other leaves.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2017-03-04           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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